The Bill of Rights: The Eleventh Amendment

Citizens from one state cannot bring lawsuit against another state.



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The Bill of Rights has guaranteed our freedoms and rights for over 200 years. In this regular series, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center looks at how they relate to society today.

“In 1793, the Supreme Court allowed a lawsuit by a citizen from South Carolina to proceed in federal court against the state of Georgia. Article III of the Constitution was unclear on whether this was permissible. This case is why the Eleventh Amendment came to be.”

“The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from adjudicating lawsuits brought against one U.S. state by citizens of another U.S. state. So, a citizen of Texas cannot sue the state of New York in federal court.”

“The 11th Amendment does not bar lawsuits against state officers by citizens from another state. Also, lawsuits brought by a U.S. state against another state can proceed in federal court.”

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